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Growing hops is pretty easy and the vine adds so much visual interest to your garden. A fast grower, the vine will set hops the first year. The hops themselves can be used to brew a batch of homemade beer.
How to Grow Hops
You can buy a vine in a container so you don’t have to grow from seed. Hops like fertile soil, although I would not do very heavy amending.
Add some compost to the planting hole. Unless your soil is terribly poor, the hops will grow fine. Water the vine regularly.
Growing Hops on a Trellis
Since hops grow from a vine, they need some type of support. Plant the hops where it has something to grow along. A wire fence or trellis is ideal. A stand alone garden pergola would look great covered in hops. You could also grow it up a lattice trellis, provided it was sturdy enough.
Really think about whether you want to plant a hops vine close to your house. The vines grow quickly and they grow thick.
They can easily get under vinyl siding or grow up along wood siding until they find something to cling to.
During the earlier months of the growing season, the vine will just pour on the growth. Seriously. They grow FAST. Since it is a perennial, it will come back every year. Wouldn’t this be absolutely beautiful growing up a pergola?
It would provide a beautiful shaded seating area in the summer.
Look how many hops there are growing on this really healthy vine. Hops grow very quickly and you will need to prune them several times during the growing season. We prune all the new shoots, leaving only about 4 to grow for the season.
The photo above shows the hops in mid summer. Many of the hops are still closed but they will grow and get quite a bit larger before they are ready to be harvested.
These are still growing and so are not ready to pick yet. You can easily tell when they are mature. If they feel flat between your fingers when you squeeze them, it is too early.
Mature hops will be quite dry. When you squeeze and then release them, they spring back to their natural size easily. They will feel kind of papery and dry. This is when they are ready for harvest.
Hops add vertical interest to your garden
Since we don’t use the hops for home brewed beer, we just leave the hops on the vine. The vine looks really beautiful all summer long, but in the Fall, it really becomes striking to look at. These hops have been left too long on the vine to use but they still look beautiful.
The vine will die back in early winter here. At that point we cut it all back to the ground and burn the leaves and hops. You could do this in spring if you would rather. New shoots will come out of the ground and start again.
Each year the roots will become stronger and stronger. If you need to keep the hops contained somewhat, you need to be vigilant about pruning it hard.
Hops is a beautiful vine that you can grow to add great visual interest to your yard. In Winter, it looks pretty with snow on it. It grows fast in spring, sets the hops in early summer and they grow until fall.
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